Friday, October 13 2000
After work I came home briefly and was intercepted by a call from Wally, a loan agent I was talking to yesterday. I've been trying to secure a $15,000 loan to pay off Kim and her mother, thereby ending the pain of all the multiple-hundred-dollar checks I must write each month. My man Wally had a loan all ready for me. "What's the interest?" was my first question, thinking he'd say something like 13 percent. After a slurry of unnecessary filler talk he said, "21 percent." That was, you might say, a deal breaker. "I could do better with my credit card!" I exclaimed in dismay. Not knowing what else to do, he went off and tracked down his manager, a man so nervous that he kept repeating an annoying filler phrase that I wish I could remember. He was telling me that the reason for such a high interest rate was the speed with which it was approved. I assured the manager that I had no interest in speed if the price was loan shark interest rates. I happily agreed to fax information confirming the value of my property, my salary, etc.
Next on the agenda was a bit of beer drinking with my co-workers at The Shack, the hippie bar on the corner of 26th and Wilshire in Santa Monica. The occasion was the celebration of the career of Chris Johnson, the now-defunct community team's senior developer. He's moving on to bigger and better things, hoping to make a full-time career of his classical double bass playing. Chris is one of the most straightforward, unpretentious guys I have ever met. He actually reminds me a lot of my longtime childhood friend Nathan VanHooser (he even looks like him). I wish I'd gotten to know Chris better over the past six months when I was withdrawn into my cubicle, single-handedly building the message board system. I particularly like Chris' means of transportation, a beat-up old Volkswagen Bug. To protect his hearing, he wears earplugs when he drives it.
Anway, it was the usual co-worker bar scene, leaving me nothing much to do but drink beers, scarfwinkle fries, make endless wisecracks, and do my best to overhear the neurotic whisper-whisper between the very conventional-looking wife of a former colleague and the community team's database chick, who, after the re-org, somehow ended up insulted with the job of leading the documentation group.
I invited Linda (my now-erstwhile boss) and Julian (the dude with whom she frequently makes public displays affection) to come over to my house, where my housemate John and friends would be having a small party.
I got home and found John hanging out with his sister Maria. The refrigerator was completely stocked with several varieties of beer and the wet bar had been transformed from a mail sorting table to an actual bar, especially outfitted for the fixing of vodkateas.
Apparently Maria had invited over a couple of her female co-workers. When John's premature fixed himself one and we got to talking about how strong they are, Maria warned "You better not make out with either of my co-workers." Then she turned to me and said, "But you can, Gus." "Cool, no competiton!" I shouted in mock-triumph.
But, when they arrived, Maria's co-workers turned out to be, well, just plain ugly. One had a full-on horse face with a gummy smile and the other had that sort of plump Asian look that doesn't even activate my Asian girl fetish. Not only that, the girls were catty and superifical in the worst sort of way. I could tell right away that they weren't impressed with our alley furniture. One even interrogated me about how well we'd washed the couch she was sitting on. They were impressed, however, upon learning that I owned the house and wasn't renting.
Next came Fernando and that girl Catherine from a few weeks back, followed shortly by Sal, the kingpin of the Muslim Mafia, if you'll allow me to grossly overstate things for a moment. Catherine was very proud of her leather pants, which, she proudly claimed, had been custom made in Barcelona.
Linda and Julian showed up, but they weren't in much of a social mood, sitting by themselves on the least-used of the alley couches and living up to their pre-arrival description as being "my boss and the boy she kisses."
The original plan had been for our gathering to be but a pre-party prior to going to some expensive bar in Santa Monica (actually, the same expensive bar we'd gone to the last time Catherine was running the show, that place with the 80's night, the West End). But John and I hadn't had much fun last time we'd gone and we weren't into going, and, for that matter, neither was Maria and her unattractive co-workers. So, while Fernando, Sal and Catherine went off to go dancing, the rest of us stayed behind and chatted. As soon as Catherine was gone, the cattiness came out in all its delicious unpleasantness. Catherine may not be the most beautiful girl in the world, but she has a good figure and, placed beside Maria's co-workers, she looks something like a supermodel. So they really let her have it, going on and on about how poorly-fitted her leather pants were considering they'd been "custom made" in Barcelona.
After everyone had gone, John and I went down to our coffee shop. I was pretty damn drunk by this point and can't really remember what happened with any narrative clarity.
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